Netanyahu: Israel to prioritize "security needs" over Palestinian truce demands

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, attends a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Baz Ratner)

Published Sunday, August 17, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday any deal on Gaza's future at truce talks in Cairo must be contingent on Israel's “security needs,” warning Hamas against carrying out its threat of a long war if Palestinian demands are not met.

With a five-day ceasefire due to expire late on Monday, negotiators were to reconvene in the Egyptian capital to seek an end to five weeks of hostilities that have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians.

Both sides say gaps remain in reaching a long-term deal that would keep the peace between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip, and open the way for reconstruction aid to reach the battered enclave.

Hamas wants the crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the Gaza Strip lifted, as well as the establishment of a seaport and airport, as part of any enduring halt to violence.

Israel, which launched its offensive on July 8 after a surge in cross-border Hamas rocket attacks, has shown scant interest in making sweeping concessions, and has called for the disarming of resistance groups in the territory of 1.8 million people.

Netanyahu, in public remarks to his cabinet, said Hamas should not underestimate Israel's resolve to battle on.

"Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings," he said.

"If Hamas thinks that through continued intermittent firing it will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken. For as long as quiet does not return, Hamas will continue to absorb very harsh strikes."

The Gaza offensive has had broad public support in Israel, where Palestinian rockets, many of them intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, have disrupted everyday life but caused little damage and very few casualties.

Commenting on Netanyahu's remarks, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "The only way to achieve security is to afford security to the Palestinians first and to lift the blockade and to agree to their demands."

On Saturday, Osama Hamdan, the head of Hamas's foreign affairs, said on Facebook: "Israel must accept the demands of the Palestinian people or face a long war."

Egypt, which is mediating between the sides, has given little detail on any progress in the talks.

"As of now, Israel has not agreed to any proposals," an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.

The United Nations said 425,000 people in the Gaza Strip have been displaced by the war.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in the enclave says 1,980 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict.

On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians, including a Thai laborer, have been killed.

Egyptian and Palestinian sources have said that at the Cairo talks Israel had tentatively agreed to relax curbs on the movement of people and goods across the border, subject to certain conditions.

Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet, said Israel was examining the Egyptian proposal as a whole and had yet to make any final decision.

"There are sections that are problematic as far as Israel is concerned," Erdan said on Israel Radio, without elaborating.

The Palestinian demand for a Gaza sea port and reconstruction of an airport destroyed in previous conflicts with Israel has been a stumbling block, but earlier reports hinted that these demands would be discussed at a later date.

Israel and Hamas have not met face-to-face in Cairo: Israel regards Hamas and other Palestinian armed resistance organizations as a terrorist group. The Palestinian delegation includes representatives of Hamas and US-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who brought his former rivals into a unity government in April.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Poor Proudly Dreadful Captain Bibi Netanyahu - he looks very bad, doesn't he !
Bu then the 2 hot shots on either side of him, also look very worried.
Why are they worried, I wonder ?
May be because if you loose your popularity the charitable donations to the tune of billions of dollars will dry up.
Boys it looks like the monies are going to stop rolling in like water flowing down an over loaded stream.
Already no one will invest in Israel because of the uncertainty.
After all, we at large know that the oil of the Middle East is all but gone. Then we fear that the idiot in Israel could inflame the situation even further & BOOM World War three has erupted.

Are you well?

Prime Minister of Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu
How many men do you think - stand in a cue behind Benjamin Netanyahu ?
Waiting - full of ambition & aspiration
Just waiting for the Prime Ministerial Shoes to be empty ?
Knives sharpened & at the ready.
"The assassination of Julius Caesar was the result of a conspiracy by many Roman senators who called themselves LIBERATORS."
"Led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Julius Brutus, they stabbed Julius Caesar to death in a location adjescent to the Theatre of Pompey on the Ides of March (March 15) 44BC. Caesar was the dictator of the Roman Republic."
Israel is a welfare nation with massive unemployment, dirty water, dirty air, dirty streets. Israel was to be a home land for the Jewish people, it has become a concentration camp for Jews instead.
How much longer will the Israeli people be happy to suffer in silence ?
Today Benjamin Netanyahu is seen a malevolent fiend, a prior by the global community, a cruel dictator, including to the citizens of Israel.
But do the Liberators of Israel have the courage to strike or will they languish like defeated dogs.

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